Day 22: Bittersweet Send-off

I have been anxiously awaiting spring break for awhile now. I know my students have, too. We all need a break. A break from school. A break from each other. A break from the “grind.” For me, a break from grading. For them, a break from homework. I’m hoping these next nine days will be the much needed refresh we all so badly need.

But, as it turns out, it is also one of my student’s last day at our school. She has been my student for both seventh and eighth grade and she has depended on me a lot both emotionally and academically. I am so proud of how far she has come as a student and a young lady. I even wrote her a little card to tell her these things.

Crazy enough, she did the same for me. She wrote me the sweetest note thanking me for being her person. As she said, I have helped her with her problems and made sure she wasn’t hurting and that she will have me in her heart no matter what. It’s times like these, students like this, kind words like hers that are just the little reminder I need when I may be feeling a little frustrated.

Thank you, sweet “E,” for being you and for being in my life. What a bittersweet send-off though. 😦 Thank you for reminding me in this often thankless role that I am appreciated. It’s nice to hear once in awhile, isn’t it?!

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Day 21: Toddlers and Teenagers

As I looked around one of my classes today at the behaviors/actions of some of my 8th grade students, I had a major a-ha moment. Teenagers and toddlers are SO similar.

Example 1:

At school–

Student: Mrs. Watson… (pats chair next to him for me to sit there)

At home–

Kennedy (my 20 month old daughter): Mama… (pats chair next to her for me to sit there)

Example 2:

At school–

Student: creating marker tower (while he should have been completing an activity)

At home–

Kennedy: creating a tower with blocks (completely developmentally appropriate)

Example 3:

At school–

Me: Clean up your materials before you leave.

Student: (leaves belongings where they are and expects me to clean up after them)

At home–

Me: Kennedy! It’s time to clean up your toys. (I proceed to sing “Clean up, Clean up, Everybody everywhere…)

Kennedy: (actually helps me clean up toys)

I have surrounded myself with two different age groups at school and at home… or so I thought. Turns out, there are a lot more similarities between toddlers and teenagers than I realized.

**Authors Note: This is clearly a generalization, but as spring break approaches, it is more evident than ever.

Day 20: Hump Day

Spring break starts at 3:25 on Friday. Well, the final bell rings at 3:25, so technically, it starts at 3:26. This week is literally the longestttttt week ever. The students are ready for a break. The teachers are ready for a break. We are all just trying to make it to Friday. Survival of the fittest, right?! I’m sure we can all relate. 😉

Part of survival as a junior high teacher is humor/sarcasm/fun. One way I try to include this is by using my Bitmoji on my agenda. Some days they fit what we are working on in class and others they fit my mood. Some days they fit the day of the week and others they fit the time of day. I’m pretty sure my students enjoy them. Well, at least I hope they do! But if they don’t, I sure do, so that’s a win in my book!

Below you can see the one I chose for my agenda today. I think I made it pretty clear how I’m feeling. If not, I use it as a “teachable moment” to practice inference skills. Gotta love it! Happy “Hump Day” everyone!

Bitmoji Image

Day 19: Lunch in Room 102

Today there are eight in attendance in my classroom for lunch. Four completing missing work, two getting ahead on work, and two just here for a space away from the cafeteria to socialize with each other. In other words, half of them were told they had to be here and half of them just showed up/chose to be here. I guess based on those statistics that means my room is a safe and comfortable place for my students.

I’m glad I’ve set up that environment, really I am. I’m happy my students feel like they can talk to me and know that they can come to me. (See yesterday’s post that kind of relates to this when I talked about all the “hats” we wear.) But sometimes, I wish I had the chance to socialize at lunch time like most of my students do, but here I am sitting here monitoring them.

So, here I sit in Room 102. At this point, as I’m typing, they are all trying to engage me in a social conversation. Listening to their banter. Ripping on each other. Avoiding work. Laughing. Wandering around. Asking me questions. Telling stories. Driving each other crazy. Driving me crazy.

As crazy as they drive me, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I guess that makes me crazy, too!

Day 18: Homework Monitor

Teacher.

Social worker.

Counselor.

Life-long learner.

Liaison.

Role model.

Disciplinarian.

Content specialist.

Cheerleader.

Curriculum creator.

Storyteller.

Listener.

Mediator.

Writer.

Reader.

Confidant.

Decision maker.

I never realized until I had my own classroom how many “hats” we wear daily. Unless someone is a teacher, they will never truly be able to empathize either. (To all of you that have a partner that is a fellow teacher; I envy you in that regard!) Sometimes, I can’t quite keep up with all the hats I need to wear. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve “got it.” I think it depends on the time of day you catch me. Or maybe even the time in the school year.

While at times these roles can be overwhelming, I value being that trusted, consistent person in my students’ lives. Of course, we didn’t go into teaching for the money (duh), but rather to support, help, and encourage our students. It is always my goal to let my students know I care about them, as my students and as people, too.

Lately though, it seems like a “new” role has been consuming me. (Please don’t think I’m complaining… more like venting to an audience that gets it.) As I am preparing my students to be more responsible and accountable for high school, I have found this to be quite labor intensive. Also, it’s quite annoying and repetitive as I have the same chats about 101809 times a day.

Where is your work? When are you making it up? Where are you making it up? Do you know what is due? Do you know when I’m checking? What is getting in the way of your success? How can we change this? Did you know this could impact your letter grade this year? Do you understand why this is important? How can I help you so this doesn’t happen again?

Yup, you guessed it/my post title gave it away. I’m now a homework monitor, too.

Day 17: Wait, It’s St. Patrick’s Day?!

Rewind back to college, post college, early on in my relationship with my husband, and basically up until 2017, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were essential. I looked forward to this weekend- it was an excuse to do something a little more over the top than usual. And why not?! I enjoyed the over the top, wear a festive t-shirt, necklaces, sunglasses, stickers/temporary tattoos, etc. experience that was a little more acceptable during this mid March celebration.

2011, our first St. Patrick’s Day together
2013, different year… same plans!

Last year, my then eight month old wore her Irish Princess onesie as we posed her for pictures.

2018, Kennedy (8 months)

This year, she’s asleep and I forgot to even have her wear anything green and/or festive today. #momfail

It’s crazy how things change so quickly. Looking back, I guess I always thought St. Patrick’s Day weekend would be celebrated with going downtown, watching the river get dyed green, and then heading out on a barcrawl of sorts with friends and thousands of other 20 somethings in Chicago. Who knew that this year, on the very same day, I would be sitting in my comfy clothes on the couch typing this blogpost. I didn’t even know which day to go to the parade; I got all mixed up with the dates! Oops! Oh, what a difference a few years can make for this Irish girl.

Chicago River – ready for St. Patrick’s Day

Day 16: Nap Time

Pizza Night with the fam last night? Check.

Time with our friends we haven’t seen in awhile? Check.

Adult time and late night Mexican food? Check.

Sleeping in?! Ha.

Kennedy was up at 5:30. What?! No rest for the weary. #momlife

This mama is running on my Yeti full of coffee right now as I post this. But guess what?! Kennedy couldn’t hang… she’s already taking a little morning nap and I’m sure you can guess who else is napping, too.

Yup, you guessed right. My husband. I swear, I need to figure this out. Why am I the only one awake? They’re both snoring away and here I sit posting a little Saturday slice with coffee in hand.

Just waiting for everyone to wake up soon so we can enjoy the Saturday sunshine together! I hope the sun is shining where you are today, too!